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Micrometeorites

Barely melted NMM 1833 is a wondrous beauty from space

One of the surprising discoveries made by the French Concordia project (Michel Maurette/Cecile Engrand/Jean Duprat) in Antarctica in the year 2000, was porphyritic olivine (PO) micrometeorites with an abundance of iron sulfide. These rare, “barely melted” cosmic spherules have not been heated sufficiently during atmospheric entry to complete an elemental differentiation, where the iron accumulates as a dense core and the volatiles evaporate. 

On the contrary, these barely melted micrometeorites are closer to how the cosmic dust particles exist in outer space, with chunks and small microspherules of iron sulfide, nickel and iron together with the magnesium silicates. 

When I first started to find the same barely melted type in urban dust, I was so surprised by the unusual visual appearance that the particles were put aside. Unlike other types of micrometeorites, which I could identify visually, these particles required chemical analysis to confirm their extraterrestrial origin. 

A beautiful example of this barely melted type of micrometeorite is NMM 1833, which was found on the roof of an industrial building in Vestby, outside my hometown of Oslo. NMM 1833 measures about 0.3 mm and has iron sulfide that is completely intact. Since sulfide is rapidly weathered, we know that this little speck of stardust was collected very shortly after it arrived on Earth. To me, it seems almost like a small volcanic planet!

Barely melted space gems have been the focus of a great deal of fascinating and mysterious research that may reveal many secrets of the universe, which I will discuss another time. For now, enjoy the wondrous beauty of NMM 1833 and connect with Project Stardust on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up-to-date!

Yours truly,

Jon Larsen

A full SEM image of barely melted micrometeorite NMM 1833 discovered and photographed by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle
A full scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of barely melted micrometeorite NMM 1833 discovered and photographed by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle. © Project Stardust, 2022.
A SEM detail image of barely melted micrometeorite NMM 1833 discovered and photographed by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle
A scanning electron microscope (SEM) detail image of barely melted micrometeorite NMM 1833, discovered and photographed by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle. © Project Stardust, 2022.

Just in case you're new here!

Together we have amassed the world's most expansive collection of micrometeorites and we can't wait to share it with you.

Whether you're an expert in the field, an art collector with an appetite for treasures from space, or a budding stardust enthusiast, we hope you'll enjoy learning about our work.

Connect with us on social media to share the excitement of seeing new micrometeorites for the first time!

Jon Larsen & Jan Braly Kihle

We're so glad you're here!

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WINTER 2022 COLLECTION

Meet this season's micrometeorites

This season's collection features a variety of stunning micrometeorites. From mountainous cryptocrystalline turtlebacks and bewitching glass spherules to ultra rare giants. Available for a limited time only.

NMM 1448: V-TYPE

NMM 1448:  V-TYPE

Glass / Vitreous

Glass or vitreous type (V-type) micrometeorites each a temperature of up to 2000°C (3600°F) as they descend through the atmosphere..

These delicate, translucent spherules are difficult to find due to their lack of magnetism, since most of their metals evaporated during descent. 

NMM 1359:  CC-TYPE

Crypto-crystalline

Cryptocrystalline (CC-type) micrometeorites are composed of glassy particles with fine-grained crystallites that are too small to recognize as individual grains.

Many of these magnificent spherules feature metal beads and aerodynamic forms, while others have a "turtleback" shape with humps distributed evenly around the spherule.

NMM 1359:  CC-TYPE

NMM 500:  BO-TYPE

Barred Olivine

Barred olivine (BO-type) spherules are coarse-grained  micrometeorites made of the magnesium variety of the mineral olivine, forsterite, which is punctuated with small particles of magnetite.

The surface features striations that are formed when iron reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere. 

NMM 500:  BO-TYPE

NMM 1149:  PO-TYPE

Porphyritic Olivine

Porphyritic olivine (PO-type) micrometeorites are also made of forsterite, a type of olivine that is made of magnesium.

There are many morphological varieties of this type of micrometeorite; From evenly distributed small crystals, to crystals that increase in side, to extremely large or even possibly a single olivine crystal.

NMM 1149:  PO-TYPE

NMM 1271:  Sc-TYPE

Scoriaceous

When stardust does not reach a peak temperature of at least 1350°C (2500°F) during entry and deceleration, it barely melts. Volatile elements expand and escape in the form of gas bubbles, which results in a scoriaceous (SC-type) or vesicular micrometeorite.

Micrometeorites of this type are extremely difficult to find.

NMM 1271:  SC-TYPE

NMM 1271: G-, I-, CAT-typeS

Other Types

From G-types with dark silicate glass, I-types dominated by iron, and milky CAT spherules  enriched with calcium, aluminum, and titanium, to fossil, unmelted, and un-categorized micrometeorites.

There is no question that Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle's contributions have had a dramatic effect on the field.

NMM 1271:  G-/I-/CAT-TYPES

Jon and Jan are
EXCEPTIONAL ARTISTS AND SCIENTISTS. 

Michael Zolensky

NASA JOhnson Space Center

SEM Collection

COMING SOON

Never forget: YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY STARDUST, inside and out.

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FIREBALL: Visitors from Darker Worlds

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From directors Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer, this remarkable journey across our planet and universe explores how meteorites, shooting stars, and deep impacts have awoken our wonder about other realms-and make us rethink our destinies.

Limited Edition

The Atlas

of Micrometeorites

Never before has it been possible to see stardust in such a large format with crisp details. The 500+ color images are made possible by a new photo technology developed for this project by the author and mineralogist Jan Braly Kihle. 

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The Atlas of Micrometeorites provides an INVALUABLE RESOURCE
for stardust hunters around the world.

Matthew Genge

Imperial College, London

ORIGIN STORIES

Jon Larsen revolutionized the study of micrometeorites when he became the first person to discover a micrometeorite from an urban environment. Then a new form of art emerged when he and Jan Braly Kihle created the world's first high resolution photographs of micrometeorites in colour.

Learn about the singular moment that led to Jon's groundbreaking discovery
and the phone call that kickstarted a truly epic friendship.

Jon Larsen revolutionized the study of micrometeorites when he became the first person to discover a micrometeorite from an urban environment. Then a new form of art emerged when he and Jan Braly Kihle created the world's first high resolution photographs of micrometeorites in colour.

Learn about the singular moment that led to Jon's groundbreaking discovery and the phone call that kickstarted a truly epic friendship.

I HAVE TO KNOW

I'm ready. TEACH ME.

Micrometeorites

Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle have amassed the world's most expansive collection of urban micrometeorites and they want you to follow in their footsteps.

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HALLO and welcome!

We're Jon Larsen & Jan Braly Kihle

We are world renowned micrometeorite experts here to share our cosmic art and inspire the world to become star hunters.

STARDUST
is everywhere